As a responsible gun owner, you follow the rules for using and storing your firearms to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from harm. As a responsible gun owner looking to sell one of your firearms, you also want to keep your firearms out of the hands of people who might use them to harm themselves or others. The most secure way to sell your firearm is through a Federal Firearms Licensee.

FFLs are firearm dealers who are licensed by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They are required by law to conduct background checks on any unlicensed person who wants to buy a firearm. These checks verify that prospective buyers are not prohibited from possessing or receiving firearms under federal or state law.

Person-to-person firearm sales are permitted in South Carolina. If you choose to go direct, consider asking specific questions to ensure your buyer is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal or state law. Be aware that federal law prohibits a person from transferring a firearm to a person he knows or has reasonable cause to believe is prohibited from possessing it. Thus, if in asking these questions, you discover your prospective buyer is prohibited, it would be a violation of federal law to transfer the firearm.

Once you’re satisfied the buyer is eligible to possess the firearm, consider drawing up a bill of sale. This document should include your name, the buyer’s name, the serial number, manufacturer, model, and caliber of the firearm, the agreed-upon price and the date of sale. You can find samples online by searching for “Firearms Bill of Sale.” Keep this document along with your personal record of firearms ownership.

Taking these actions can help you assist law enforcement in the event a gun you own or one you’ve sold is later used in a crime.